POLITICS: Jeremy Corbyn, The Refugee Crisis, and People vs. Politics

On Saturday, millions across Britain were ecstatic as Jeremy Corbyn became the newest leader of the Labour Party with a landslide victory. This last weekend, politics and people have never been more at contrast.

Corbyn, an anti-war, pro Palestinian, anti-austerity veteran will be facing Cameron in Prime Ministers Questions for the first time this Wednesday. Tom Watson MP, his new Deputy, warned the Conservative party, saying: “Watch this space. Watch your backs. We will be watching you. And we will win in 2020.”

The mainstream media and Conservatives have certainly not wasted any time in attacking Corbyn. Their attacks seem to have simply proven once and for all that Corbyn is now a definite ‘threat’. But let’s get one thing clear. The only threat the new leader poses is to the Tories current form of austere, warmongering governance.

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Blarities and Tories all over have tried their best to berate, patronise and slag-off Corbynites, with the likes of Louise Mensch stirring up rumours by accusing the Labour Party of being ‘hijacked’ [below], but in reality the new Leader actually overwhelmed the polls with 59.5% of the vote, all by full Labour Party Members, not just £3 supporters.
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Former PM Tony Blair, who served as Prime Minister for the Labour Party from 1997 to 2007 was yet another politician who, in a recent interview with BBC, said that the leadership contest was being presented as a choice “between heart and head”, adding that people voting Corbyn need a heart transplant. Writing for the Observer, the former PM mentions how Corbyns’ supporters live in a “parallel reality”, with his policies being compared to Alice in Wonderland fantasy politics.

But aren’t the real ‘Alice in Wonderland’ politics those which Blair imposed during his ten-year leadership? Not only was his 1998 invasion of Iraq highly illegal, costing millions in taxpayers money, but the conflict still claims lives today, with refugees and migrants dying in the Mediterranean time and time again.

The strong contrast between decisions made by the leading party and what British citizens really want was most noticed this past Saturday, when thousands of ordinary people from all across Britain took to the streets of London, calling for their government to open the borders and let in the millions of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere.

In an Interview with ITV, David Cameron attempted to dehumanise the refugee crisis by referring to it as a “swarm of people” entering the UK. Let’s see how this statement compares to statistical data:

According to the British Red Cross, over 50 million people globally were forced to leave their countries last year alone. In the UK, there are around 126,000 refugees, which make up only 0.19% of Britain’s total population. Cameron claimed he would accept 20,000 people into the UK by 2020, but this figure, ironically, doesn’t begin to compare with the number of people developing countries such as Lebanon have taken in.

The national day of action in London followed an entire summer of Conservative politicians refusing help to refugees seeking shelter in Britain.

Alongside 100,000 people marching in solidarity with refugees, Corbyn was the first politician to support the cause and speak at the demonstration just hours after leadership results were announced. On the UK-bound refugees stuck in Calais, he said: “After all, we are all human beings. If we were in their situation, we would do exactly the same.”

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Perhaps the most important take away is this: the more disparaging commentary we hear about Corbyn in the news, the more people seem to like him. Don’t believe the media hype. That will end in just a few days, or even weeks, but Corbyn being the new Labour Party Leader won’t.

By Iara Kaiser

The Verse Staff

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